It looks like a combination of the weekend’s unprecedented and humiliating 8-2 defeat to Manchester United, the long calls from the fans and the major departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have finally got to Arsene Wenger. He went into the transfer market in a big way this season, picking up 8 signings in total and no less than 4 on the final day of the transfer window.
For once Wenger picked up senior players, including the 6ft 6in German defender Per Mertesacker who I am sure will be a great asset to the squad. Coupled with a fit Vermaelan maybe we could see a return to the days of the famous Arsenal back four.
Spaniard Mikel Arteta and Israeli Yossi Benayoun were brought in to fill the midfield gaps left by Fabregas and Nasri. Huge boots to fill and I don’t believe these guys at 29 and 31 have that potential. But at least they bring in some experience to Arsenal’s youthful squad, while hopefully Wilshire and Ramsey grow in stature, both physically and metaphorically.
New Arsenal signings Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun and Andre Santos.
The other newcomer on the closing day of the transfer window was Brazilian international left-back Andre Santos who at 28 also brings a wealth of experience. He played in the recent Copa America for Brazil and in the 2009 Confederations Cup, but did not make the squad for the 2010 World Cup. I personally know little of him, but have that slight concern that many players seem to go to Turkey to play out their careers and Arsenal are buying from there. I’m also not a little concerned about the fitness records of Arteta and Benayoun. I hope that I am proved wrong.
There were a number of departures from the Arsenal ranks on the closing transfer day too. Left back Armand Traore moved to QPR, striker Gilles Sunu moved to French club Lorient, brand new striker Joel Campbell, who was only signed a week ago, went out on loan to Lorient for the rest of the season. Midfielder Henri Lansbury also went on a season-long loan to West Ham.
The biggest out of the day was the transfer of Nicklas Bendtner to Sunderland on a season long loan, which will probably become permanent if he is successful, considering the glut of strikers on the Arsenal books now. Not forgetting they also picked up South Korea striker Chu Young Park from Monaco in this transfer window.
Bendtner has had a mixed career at the Gunners, not always being popular with the fans and never matching his own belief in himself. But he has scored some important goals and if he gets regular games at Sunderland it could be the making of him.
With so many changes to the squad it will be interesting to see how Arsenal shape up for the rest of the season. Will they change from their Barcelona style passing game? We have a while to find out, with no Premier League football this weekend, Arsenal’s next fixture is at home to Swansea on 10th September, quickly followed by a European Champions League game at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday 13th September.
By Max Power